Shakes Rattle and Roll
My name is Billy Shakespeare. I have a thousand faces.
I pop up in your archives on a very doubtful basis.
I may have had a wingco ’tache and garland on my head,
But there again I might have been a man of gingerbread.
I may have worn a hairpiece or a codpiece made of armour,
And I may have been a charmer with a part-time job in drama,
And I may have been a drinker who became a shocking dribbler,
Or even (ever been had, mate?) a very blatant scribbler.
I might have written comedies like Hamlet or Macbeth,
In which the hero sees things, and then has a date with Death,
In which the joke is on the bloke who likes soliloquising,
Or anyone who sees the trees come over the horizon –
Were they all the rage, my stage noir pages pulling in the money?
Or did the locals pack my plays because my clowns were funny?
Or did I buy up scriveners to leaven the monotony,
While having little side-bets on the wacky world of botany?
I left my heirs a message. I said, No need to be ravenous –
Get yourselves some sinecures as literature examiners,
And if you want your progeny to hear the tills ker-ching,
Invest in sweat-shops turning out some three-inch bits of string.
Yes I am Billy Shakespeare, a shadow, most endearing.
Perhaps I am a baldy with a very fetching earring:
I gave my kids this precept, you can call it my last stricture:
Make sure you never publish Billy Shakespeare’s proper picture.